SCA Ordinary and Armorial Software

This is a software package written by an SCA herald, for the use of SCA heralds. That said, anyone can download and use it, if they wish ... it is "freeware". Please keep in mind the phrase "You get what you pay for ..." -- in this case, I hope that you won't be disappointed, but I cannot 100% guarantee that everything will work the way you want it to, or expect it to; I cannot guarantee it is completely bug free (although lord knows, I've tried!). Note that I am interested in usability suggestions -- if there's something you think could be done in an easier to use way, please feel free to drop me a note (Email address is at the bottom of the page ...).

The purpose of this program is to provide a means of searching the SCA's Ordinary and Armorial (OandA) database in a fashion that makes some sense with a more intuitive interface than GREP or other UNIX based commands ... If you would like to see some screen shots, click here ... Screen Shots.

The current version is in dBASE Plus, which is a Windows-based database software package (some more detail at the bottom of this page). It can run in most versions of Windows after Windows XP.


Go straight to the Data ...

The Program

Most Recent Version: 13.08, Updated: August, 2016

Included in the previous releases (the following are from 12.0 through 13.07):


Version 13.09 (November, 2016)


Important!

This software will not work on Windows XP -- it should be fine on Windows 7, 8 and 10 (see below for Windows 7 and 8 concerns). The underlying software (dBASE) has been upgraded several times, and the last few iterations do not work with Windows XP -- there are some major differences in aspects of the software, and backward compatibility can only go so far. Apologies for any inconvenience!

Instructions:

  1. Linux User? See below ...

  2. Download the software (see below) -- note it may take a long time (depending on your internet connection), as the executable for the install program is approx. 18 megabytes in size. A good portion of this is the installer for the Borland Database Engine -- I have no control over that, sorry.

    OandA 13.09 32-bit Installer -- Download this.

  3. When the program is done downloading, right click the file "OandA13_09.exe", and select "Run as Administrator", particularly under Windows 10.

    The install has gotten a little cleaner -- you are not asked about the Borland Database Engine or the runtime installers, they just go and install. One less question in the process, anyway ...

  4. Warning: It is not a good idea to install this on a network -- unlike SQL databases, a result set from a query will attempt to return the whole database, not just the result set, which will slow it down, and on a network can cause a bottleneck. It is best to install on a local machine, and is really what it was designed for.

  5. Installation: If the install stops on you and does not finish, then the Microsoft Anti-Spyware program may be causing some conflict(s).

  6. You may want to read the "README.TXT" file that is in the program group created.

  7. IMPORTANT: Once you have the program installed, you will want to get hold of the latest copy of the data from Morsulus -- see instructions below for that.

  8. When you have the latest data from Morsulus, run the OandA program from the program group, and then select "Import".

  9. Windows 7™ Users -- To run the install program right click the file in Windows Explorer, and select "Run as administrator". This will allow everything to install properly. There is a warning about the application not being a "commonly downloaded" one you may have to deal with -- use the "more information" link, and the "Run anyway" option.

  10. Windows 8™ Users -- Yosef Alaric downloaded the beta (3/15/2012), and installed the OandA. He notes the following:

    "I ran the O&A program through the current Windows 8 Consumer Preview (32 bit version) and there are no great surprises. You do not need to run as Administrator any longer, .... On downloading you get a warning that the executable is not a commonly downloaded and run program (well, duh!) and that you should be careful. I think the warning only pops up once in Win 7, but you get it twice in Windows 8. When that happens you need to click on the "more information" link if it appears and then on "Run anyway."

  11. If you have any problems, please let me know, see the Contact information below.

This version was written completely in dBL, the programming language of dBASE Plus.

There may be other improvements down the road, but unless people tell me areas that need work, I won't know about them (hint, hint!).


The Data

You need to have data for the OANDA system -- you can get it from a few places, but the one that is most up-to-date is the site maintained by the Morsulus Herald of the SCA's College of Arms. There are two files you need, and you must follow the directions carefully -- otherwise your browser may add ".htm" or ".html" to the filename as an exension, which is not real useful.

NOTE: The Morsulus herald has decided to release the data on a monthly basis starting in February, 2014. I will update the data here, and if you are on my mailing list, you will receive an email every time the data has been updated, in case you want the update.

  1. Option 1 (Recommended) -- download the installer (below) containing the data, which may not be updated quite as often as Morsulus updates things, but attempts will be made to keep this updated ... This has the advantage of being smaller, so it won't take as long to download as the other option.
    • Click on the link below. This will ask if you want to download the file: OandAData.exe (or depending on your computer's setup, may ask if you want to run the file, etc.). Suggest you download it if you are asked options.

      OandAData.exe (Dated August 6, 2017 (Covering LoARs up to June, 2017))

      This installer is set up to work with the version 11.00 and later of the OandA program (see above), setting specific registry keys so that the program knows where the data is.

    • Once this has been downloaded, go to the place it was downloaded to and run it (Double-click it, or whatever). Note that if you have installed version 11.04 (or later) of the OandA program, this will install the files directly to the folder that the OandA program was installed to. If not, it will give a default location, which you can change ...
    • Run the "Import" or "Translate" option (depending on the version of the software you have).

  2. Option 2 -- download from the Morsulus Herald's Website -- this is likely to be the most accurate/up-to-date version of the data:
    • Click on the link below. When the file starts loading in the browser, use your browsers' File menu, and select "Save As ...". Select the location to save to (the same place the OANDA software was installed to, i.e., C:\OANDA or wherever you installed it to). MAKE SURE YOU NAME IT: OANDA.DB -- if you do NOT put the .DB extension there, the browser will put its own extension on the file.

      The data: http://oanda.sca.org/oanda.db

    • When the Oanda.db file is done, click on the Location/Address field in your browser, and go to the end of the address above. Delete the second "oanda" and type: my.cat (note, this MUST be entered in lower-case, or you will get a "404" error from the webserver, telling you the file doesn't exist ...). Once again, use the File menu, and select "Save As ..." (make sure it is named "MY.CAT", not "MY.CAT.HTM" or anything like that).
    • When both of these files are downloaded, copy them to the folder with the OandA tables, then load (run) the OANDA software, and run the import (or translate) routines.

      On a Windows 7 (or Windows 8) computer this will be:

           C:\ProgramData\GSP\OandA\Data

      On a Windows 10 computer, this will be:

           C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\GSP\OandA\Data

      Where "username" above is YOUR windows username. To see this path in the File Explorer, you may need to modify a setting in the File Explorer:

      1. Click the "View" tab at the top
      2. Click the "Options" button on the far right
      3. Click "Change folder and search options"
      4. Click the "View" tab on the dialog window
      5. Click "Show hidden files, folders, and drives"
      6. Click "OK"

      Doing this will allow you to see the "AppData" folder under your username folder.


Linux User?

Kolfinna Hrafnkelsdottir sent me the following, which may be of use, if you wish to use this application on a Linux machine (with the WINE emulator):

"... I tested the OandA software on my Linux install and fiddled until I got it working.

"This was tested under LinuxMint Release 8 (Helena), using Wine version 1.1.43. It requires that Winetricks be installed, and the packages vcrun2005 and vcrun2005sp1 installed through Winetricks. (Mint is a fork of Ubuntu, which is one of the more widely-used versions of Linux, so it's a fairly good representative distro. I can't speak for the umpteen-zillion other *nix derivatives.)

"If the data is installed from the .exe: In order for OandA to 'read' the oanda.db and my.cat files (and start normally), it is necessary to copy everything except the doc file and oanda.exe from the C: drive it is automatically installed to into the user's "/home/(username)/.wine/dosdevices/z:/home/(username)" file. I don't know enough about how Linux functions to venture a guess why, or how to fix it.

From Hirsch: My guess is that the Linux/Wine combination does not emulate the Windows Registry in the same way as a "pure" Windows computer would. The data installer looks in the registry for the location to store the files. -- HvH

"The program works much better if the oanda.db and my.cat files are saved off the oanda.sca.org website instead. There's still four or five error messages to click through, but it works! (Which is everything you can ask when running a Windows program on a Linux install, really.)" -- Kolfinna Hrafnkelsdottir

From Hirsch: If you choose this method of working with the data files, be sure to save them in the folder with the OandA.exe file, and for the Oanda.db file -- do not forget to add the .db file extension -- it is not automatically there, and if the extension is not part of the filename, the program will not recognize it.

Again, not sure where the files would be installed for the Wine/Linux installation, but for version 11.00 and later you will want to find where the tables are stored. Look for "armorial.dbf" for example. There should be a "Data" folder, which is the "live" data -- that is the one to place Oanda.DB and My.Cat into. There is also an "EmptyTables" folder, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is for the (hopefully) rare occurance where the data has been totally screwed up ... don't place the files from Morsulus there. -- HvH


Miscellaneous Notes

A couple of notes ...:

First, I make no claims that the software is perfect, but I did put a lot of work into it. If you have a problem with it, please drop me an email (address below) with details -- preferably with exact steps to reproduce the problem.

Second, I am always interested in suggestions for ways to improve the software. I may think you have a great idea and run with it, I may ask a bunch of questions if you toss an idea at me, but ... I am interested.


Contact/About the Author

EMail: , author of this software ...

Hirsch von Henford is a companion of the Orders of the Laurel and the Pelican in the West Kingdom, a Baron of the Court of the West, and holds a variety of other honors and awards over the 30 years or so he's been in the SCA. In addition, during his career in the SCA he has been a herald most of that time, and has held positions including Principality Herald (Stellanordica and Sea Wolf) for two of the West's Principalities, a variety of Kingdom staff positions, including a tenure as Vesper Principal Herald. Currently he is the Golem Herald for the West Kingdom (handling the Herald's website, award list, and a variety of other computer oriented things).

Ken Mayer (Hirsch's real-world alter-ego) was a Software Quality Assurance Engineer for dBASE, Inc., testing the software for flaws. Many projects written for the SCA have helped find bugs in the software, so in the process of writing this software, I was actually doing my job as well (nice trick, eh?). Currently I am looking for work, and still tinker with dBASE as a hobbiest, and an author (having written The dBASE Book, now in its third edition; The dBASE Reports Book, now in its second edition, and The dBASE Book Plus).

If you really want more info about me, see: http://www.goldenstag.net.